Advanced Facilities: Vibration and Noise Control

Advanced technology facilities include microelectronic fabrication facilities (fabs), nanotechnology and nanofabrication laboratories, R&D facilities, solar panel development and manufacturing, biotechnology and pharmaceutical plants, as well as medical and healthcare buildings.  These facilities have one thing in common: they all house tools and processes which manufacture and inspect on sub-micron and nanometer scales, often requiring high end vibration criteria.  In this regime, vibration and noise are considered contaminants which must be controlled via good facility design.

Local Vibration Sources 
Because of other contamination and tool requirements, these facilities typically house far more mechanical equipment than do traditional manufacturing operations.  For example, the cleanroom facilities commonly installed inside these buildings consume enormous amounts of energy in order to maintain their designed clean class.  Major rotating equipment involved in air recirculation, exhaust, process, UPW/DI, cooling, boilers and others generate vibrations, requiring high-quality vibration isolation.  In some settings, materials handling systems present significant dynamic forces to the structure.  This is especially true in flat panel display factories, where the movement of large substrates for PDP (plasma display panels) and TFT (thin film transistor) displays is accomplished via automated systems (AMHS and AGV) which generate vibrations. 

Environmental Vibration Sources 
Aside from facility equipment sources, such buildings may also be impacted by environmental ground vibration sources such as highways and train traffic, compounded by the dynamic characteristics of the site soil medium.  A poor soil condition may expose the facility to a higher impact from adjacent road and rail activities and events. 

Microvibration and Noise Design Considerations 
Within the microelectronics industry, these facilities often require several buildings stories tall.  Fab floors are often stacked on top of each other, particularly in flat panel display manufacturing.  Vibration design of these highly complex facilities requires extensive experience and understanding in the nature of sources of vibration and noise (qualitatively and quantitatively), often only available through field measurements, theoretical and experimental knowledge of structural dynamics behavior, soil dynamics, and the ability to employ both analytical and empirical tools to arrive at proper facilities design. 

At Vibro-Acoustic Consultants, we utilize our experience obtained through the design and field testing of a large number of mega fabs, along with our strong background in structural and soil dynamics to optimize each facility to the site-specific and client-specific conditions and requirements. 

We begin our design at the site selection stage; continue through concept design, design development, construction and commissioning of the facility.  During our typical design process, we employ:

mathematical models of ambient vibration sources and soil conditions

computer-based structural models to perform finite element vibration analyses

computer-based acoustical models to determine acoustical/noise design

design and inspection of the isolation of vibration generating machines

vibration testing and inspection of the structure once it is built

final measures of the performance of the facility under operating condition.




Local Noise Sources 
Noise is a particular concern for high-end metrology tools used in semiconductor manufacturing and nanotechnology research and development.  While the noise environment in most manufacturing cleanroom settings is designed for human comfort and speech intelligibility, acoustical disturbances are disruptive for such nanoscale tools as atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning probe microscopy (SPM), electron microscopy (EM), and others. Some electron microscopes are especially sensitive to acoustical noise, especially high-end SEMs and TEMs.  While these labs often do not require cleanrooms, HVAC and exhaust systems are still the primary sources of workplace noise.  In addition to design attention to these sources, good acoustical design of interior absorptive surfaces and isolating wall secions is necessary. 

Our Services 
We work as part of architectural / engineer (A/E) teams or directly with facilities owners to provide full vibration and noise design of these facilities, from environmental noise evaluation, vibration and noise monitoring during construction, tool hook-up vibration design, and tool pedestal design and testing. 

We employ state-of-the-art vibration, noise, and acoustical measurement techniques and instrumentation to obtain accurate field data.  We have up-to-date knowledge on the next-generation tools and the trends in their vibration and noise sensitivity as the technology migration to smaller feature sizes continues.

Please contact us to discuss your particular needs.




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